Best Management Practices to Control the Effects of Livestock Grazing Riparian Areas
Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet , LS-4-05 , 2005
Hoorman, J.J., McCutcheon, J.
The focus on protecting our surface water has shifted to controlling nonpoint pollution. Livestock grazing riparian areas have been identified as a source of nonpoint pollution. Riparian areas are the green vegetated areas adjacent to a creek, stream, or river. The impacts of livestock grazing riparian areas include manure and urine deposited directly into or near surface waters where leaching and runoff can transport nutrients and pathogens into the water. Unmanaged grazing may accelerate erosion and sedimentation into surface water, change stream flow, and destroy aquatic habitats. Improper grazing can reduce the capacity of riparian areas to filter contaminates, shade aquatic habitats, and stabilize streambanks. Faced with the negative impacts, many recommend the total, permanent exclusion of livestock from riparian areas. Although this is one option, because of its cost-prohibitive nature, its adoption has not been widespread. The negative impacts of livestock grazing riparian areas can be prevented, minimized, or improved by controlling when, where, how long, and with what intensity livestock graze the forages in the riparian area. So far in this series of fact sheets we have looked at the issues around livestock grazing riparian areas. This fact sheet looks at what producers can do to protect our surface water resources. Contains data for percent removal of bacteria.